Voter ID Will Take Effect in Wisconsin--Here's What that Means

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to strike down Wisconsin's Republican-backed voter ID restriction, paving the way for the law to take effect in upcoming elections.

The ruling is regarded as a victory for Governor Scott Walker, who championed the law in Wisconsin and has boasted about the state's voting restrictions as he makes the case for a presidential run. Walker defended voter ID during the 2014 gubernatorial race, declaring that "it doesn't matter" if there is only one incident of voter fraud in each election, even though as many as 300,000 Wisconsinites don't have the forms of ID required under the law.

Wisconsin's law was enacted in 2011, but was only applied in one low-turnout primary before being blocked by state and federal courts. With the U.S. Supreme Court's decision not to review an appellate court ruling upholding the law, voter ID is now slated to take effect in Wisconsin. Legal challenges to the law have reached the end of the line.

Here's how the reinstatement of voter ID restrictions will affect Wisconsinites.

  • As many as 50 percent of black and Latino voters in Wisconsin could face disenfranchisement: In Wisconsin, only 53 percent of black adults and 52 percent of Latino adults have driver's licenses, according to a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study cited by federal and state courts, compared to 85 percent of white adults.
  • The black youth vote is at greatest risk under the law: 78 percent of African-American young adult men aged 18-24 don't have driver's licenses in Wisconsin, according to that same study, as well as 66 percent of black young adult women.
  • At least 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin will be affected by the law's implementation: As many as 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin don't have the forms of ID required under the law; for reference, this is 12.5 percent of the turnout in the 2014 elections, where an estimated 2.4 million Wisconsinites went to the polls.
  • In-person voter fraud is effectively nonexistent in Wisconsin: The forms of voter fraud that could be prevented by a voter ID requirement don't occur at a statistically significant rate in Wisconsin. Federal Judge Lynn Adelman, who struck down the law in 2011, found that "virtually no voter impersonation occurs in Wisconsin and it is exceedingly unlikely that voter impersonation will become a problem in Wisconsin in the foreseeable future," since with criminal penalties a person would have to be "crazy" to engage in in-person voter fraud. In defending the law, Wisconsin's Republican-led justice department "could not point to a single instance of known voter impersonation occurring in Wisconsin at any time in the recent past," Adelman noted.
  • Obtaining an ID before election day will be difficult: For many voters, the trouble of obtaining an ID for voting--even if it is free--will be difficult, and the burdens may not outweigh the benefits. Just one-third of the state's Department of Motor Vehicles offices are open full-time, and even then only during business hours. There is only one DMV office in the entire state open on Saturday. Because most voters who will need to obtain an ID don't drive, they will need to rely on public transport or get a ride, making it even more difficult to get to the DMV during the limited hours the offices are open. Last year, Walker and legislative Republicans declined to extend DMV hours, and refused to fund a new public education program to make voters aware of the new requirements to vote.

The law will likely be put on hold for next week's Wisconsin Supreme Court election, given the closeness of election day, yet is almost certain to be in effect for the 2016 presidential election.

Voter ID laws are most closely associated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose founder Paul Weyrich famously said "I don't want everybody to vote . . . As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down." Voter ID laws swept the nation after ALEC re-adopted its "model" Voter ID Act in 2009, following the election of Barack Obama with record turnout from people of color and students and a 2008 Supreme Court ruling upholding Indiana's law. Scott Walker is an ALEC alumnus.


Take away the right to vote and before to long the seeds of rebellion will raise it's head. All need to remember this country was founded via a revolution.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 Even so, challengers decided on Monday to start a new court case, to try to head off enforcement of the law in future elections. -Lyle

Voter ID laws are usually promoted by their advocates as a defense against voter fraud. In realiy, however, designed to dis enfranchise who tend to vote for progressive candidate. In the his article "Fascism Anyone?" , Lawrence W Britt includes among methods used by fascist governments to fraudulently manipulate elections, "intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite". States that have enacted voter id laws have managed to catch a few cases of voter impersonation. Between 2001 and 2010 the national total of such cases was 13. However, in 2008 alone, over 2 million voters were turned away from the polls because of voter id requirements. Urban minority voters were disproportionately affected. Voter id laws blocked democrat voters more than twice as often as republican voters from casting votes.

As stated above: At least 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin will be affected by the law's implementation: As many as 300,000 registered voters in Wisconsin don't have the forms of ID required under the law; for reference, this is 12.5 percent of the turnout in the 2014 elections, where an estimated 2.4 million Wisconsinites went to the polls. - See more at: So, my first question is: "How do these 300,000 people manage to get through TSA security to board flights, buy alcoholic beverages and get other services that require photo identity cards if it's true that they don't have them?" My next question is: "Why is no one making an issue about the required identity cards for the services in my first question?" Maybe I'm just naïve and don't understand the issue, if, indeed, it is an issue.

I would also like to add to your list of situations where people would need an id. If we are going to focus on the low income, then what id are they showing to pick up their welfare or other government checks? What form of id do they use when they go to the doctor, or other medical services? What are they using to apply for a job or maybe that's not an option?

Medical: You don't need ID to go to the emergency room (which is what the poor do when they need medical care), let alone a photo ID Job: you don't need a PHOTO ID to apply for a job (have you ever been asked for one? I never have, nor have I ever even heard of anyone who couldn't apply for or get a job due to the lack of one (unless it was a requirement of the job, such as bus driver). You can get a job with a Social Security Card (which you would have from birth), and a voter registration card (see note below). Also, it's estimated that 30% of US income is on a cash-in-hand basis, where (of course), no formal application of employment is ever made. Welfare benefits: you don't generally need a PHOTO ID to get these. For example, in North Carolina you can use any two of these: Rent receipt, Utility bill, Documentation from an employer, Tax records ,Registration with an employment agency, Written declaration from collateral contact (I,e, someone who can confirm who you are), N.C. school records diploma, voter registration card none of which require a PHOTO ID (note: that last only requires a Social Security Card, and does not by itself allow you to vote). If you don't need a PHOTO ID to get the benefits, then common sense and logic says you wouldn't need one to use them. Here's another wrinkle: To get a Voter ID in Wisconsin you need a copy of your birth certificate. But to get a copy of your birth certificate, you need: ONE of the following: Wisconsin driver's license Wisconsin ID card Out-of-state driver's license/ID card OR TWO of the following: U.S. government-issued photo ID Passport Checkbook/bank statement Health insurance card Current, dated, signed lease Utility bill or traffic ticket Paycheck or earnings statement So if you have no photo ID to begin with, that knocks down the first list . You can't get a bank account because no photo ID, so there goes the first three of the second list. You're too poor to buy health insurance and you don't live in a state that has expanded Medicaid to all through the ACA (WI is one of the 26 states which haven't), so no health insurance card. That means you need two of the three left. If you are unemployed, employed on a cash basis, or retired and renting but your name is not on the lease, or renting but your name is not on the utility bills, or renting and utilities are included in the rent, living somewhere but not paying rent by someone's good graces, homeless, living in a nursing home and having someone else taking care of your rent and utilities or disabled in such a way that you need to have someone else take care of your rent and utilities then you're screwed.

Flights: the answer is, they don't fly. if you're scraping by on $7.25 an hour (or on a fixed income, or are unemployed) you're not travelling much (if at all) , and if you are, you're taking the bus, which doesn't require an ID. Alcohol: First, your question doesn't apply to those who can vote but are not of legal drinking age - in WI, that's 200,000 people; Second, how many stores ask for an ID from someone with gray hair and wrinkles (there are at least 1.3 million seniors in WI)? ; Third, one could easily envision a situation where one person in group has an ID and purchases it for the rest you can make your own alcoholic beverages much more cheaply (and get the ingredients without an ID) and government simply doesn't have the resources to police every neighborhood in order to stop you from consuming and/or selling it. If your income (before taxes) is $59 a day, you're not taking a half-day off work to go to the DMV, and then spending another half-day's income to get a photo ID unless you absolutely need to.

I got my driver's license as soon as I could in the state I was living in. I also registered to vote and registered for the draft to support and defend this country. I got a job and yes, I began paying taxes. If you don't do the same - don't vote - don't stay here -